February '17

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18 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2017 PERFORMANCE HIGH TECH The concept of drag racing is, well, pretty straightforward: go fast, in a straight line, over a set distance. But getting to the finish line first is anything but simple. "Technology over the past 10 years has focused on one main thing—speed," Helms reports. "With all the computers and electronics that are now placed inside these drag cars, drivers can dial in exactly what they need to run faster." Matusek agrees that technology has had a dramatic influence on drag racing in several areas. "Data acquisition, computers, solid- state ignition and fuel controls all have contributed dramatically to the sport," he observes. But that doesn't mean that computer programmers necessarily have the edge over gearheads. "In today's drag racing world, you don't have to be a world-class tuner to be com- petitive," he explains. "There are tools and controls such as EFI, traction controls, automatic shifters, O2 feedback systems, etc. that allow even a novice to stick his toe in the water. That increases the inventory of teams and cars, which is a good thing." At the higher levels, however, technology may be assuming too much of a role, he adds. "The negative is that now there are inexperienced drivers that have the ability to hop into a very fast car and leave off of a button who don't know how to control the car," he says. "In most very fast classes, the driver has been taken out of the equa- tion, which is sad. But that is a topic of discussion for another day…" Pasco points to traction as an area where technology has made a difference. "Nowadays it's all about getting coil springs and control arms to plant the rear tires. This can be done very easily with a matched set of SSM rear upper and lower control arms to prevent the tires from spinning." FRIENDS & CUSTOMERS Race shops know that it pays to become Recommend products that will do the best job to get the best results—not just the best products that make you the best profit. (Photo courtesy SouthSide Machine) Technology over the past 10 years has focused on one main thing—speed. (Photo courtesy Thermo-Tec) With more speed comes more heat. (Photo courtesy Thermo-Tec) Narrow Straight &

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